Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Here are some excepts from Rules as Coded (RAC), that answer your questions. There is a thread somewhere in this forum that gives more info on RAC. I have not made this document (a PDF) file generally available, though the beta testers have a copy to review and critique.
For the US Entry makers/chits, they are being selected using a probability dirstribution that change each year (Jan/Feb). You could theoretically draw 20 zeros in a row. If your luck is that bad, you are destined to lose the game anyway.
Tutorials and the player's manual will help new players. One section of the Player's Manual is for what the crucial decisions are and some advaice about how to makle them.
This document is faithful to the Australian Design Group’s World in Flames Final Edition Rules Booklet, commonly known as Rules as Written (RAW). Following in that tradition, the title for this document is Rules as Coded (RAC). It contains changes that reflect the transition of World in Flames (WIF) from paper maps and cardboard counters to a computer screen, with keyboard and mouse. Yet, 98% of the text is directly from RAW. The changes to RAW can be divided into cosmetic, essential, clarifying, and deviations.
Cosmetic changes were made to improve legibility. RAW was laid out in a compressed black and white format so it could be printed on as few pages as possible. In that, it succeeded admirably, requiring only 64 pages. Since RAC is a PDF file and likely to be read using a computer screen, color and extensive white space have been used to improve clarity. These changes are required to show text on a computer screen, and have the benefit of making printed copies more legible. Of course the down side is that the number of pages in RAC is almost triple the number in RAW.
Color is used sparingly. First, it separates optional rules using a dark red color. Second, it separates examples, using an italicized dark blue. Third, it’s used for points of emphasis - a bold, italicized green. Fourth, a bold blue is used for major section headings and to identify terms that are being defined. Fifth, clarifications are shown using an italicized red. Lastly, deviations from RAW are shown in an italicized purple. Happily, the conversion of the figures from black and white to color adds glitz, while giving accurate pictures of how the map and units appear on the screen.
Essential changes are few and obvious. There are no paper maps to lay out on a table, nor are there cardboard counters that have to be sorted into groups. Units are not turned over during play. Instead, they have colored indicators around their edges to indicate changes in status. So, rather than ‘face-up’ and ‘face-down’, the words ‘organized’ and ‘disorganized’ are used in RAC. Continuing in that vein, “rolling dice” is replaced by computer generated “random numbers”. Other references to paper elements of the board games, such as the production circle, initiative track, etc. are replaced by references to the informational forms the player can call up and examine whenever he likes.
I also placed the conversion of the multiple paper maps using different scales into a single unified global map as an essential change, [but that’s just me being a programmer]. This resulted in references to off-map boxes and communication lines disappearing. Similarly, special rule sections pertaining to different maps were excised.
One of the challenges of converting World in Flames (WIF) to Matrix Games’ World in Flames (MWIF) was to make the rules absolutely air tight. Rendering rules into software doesn’t permit the luxury of ambiguity. The code will always function precisely the same way, without the advantage (?) of having humans interpret/adjudicate during game play. To achieve this goal, Harry Rowland, from Australian Design Group, answered hundreds of questions that had been raised by experienced WIF players.
Though few in number, there are places where RAC distinctly deviates from RAW. The use of the unified world map is far and away the most important. Most other deviations are handled as optional rules. Still, there are some places where I decided to make changes to exploit the capability of the computer. For instance, the computer can generate an infinite number of generic counters, so there is no counter-imposed limit on the number of partisan units. Nor are the US Entry chits drawn from a finite chit pool, but rather from an infinite pool according to a statistical distribution.
Decision making for converting RAW to RAC involved dozens of people and for the most part was based on group consensus. Though, of course, I had the final say, so all errors are mine.
A land unit represents an army or corps (optional division units represent smaller units, see 22.4.1 and 22.4.2). A naval unit represents a squadron of 4 to 6 destroyers attached to either 1 aircraft carrier, battleship, or heavy cruiser. If playing with the Cruisers in Flames counters, each light cruiser is also represented. An aircraft unit represents 250 aircraft in 1939 gradually increasing to 500 aircraft by 1945. Each counter consists of a variety of types, but with the predominant aircraft being that depicted on the counter. Not all of them would be flying in each mission.
Usually, you are limited by the number of units included in the game, except for convoy points which can be freely broken down or combined, as long as the total points remain the same. [Deviation. The computer also permits an unlimited number of: partisans, fortifications, factories, and infantry-type divisional units. The last is an optional rule which has important restrictions.]
Each game turn is two months.
Each hex in Europe represents approximately 76 kilometers across and on average worldwide represents 89 kilometers across. Because a Mercator projection is used, hexes closer to the poles represent less territory and hexes near the equator represent more territory.
[Deviation. You are not limited by the number of generic units in the game except for synthetic oil plants (AfA option 14). This includes unlimited: pilots and offensive, US entry, and neutrality pact chits.]
There is a limit on the number of units that can occupy each hex. This is called the stacking limit of the hex.
Units that can’t co-operate (see 18.1) can’t stack together in the same hex. They can stack together in the same sea-box. Stacking applies at the end of every step and after advance after combat (see 11.16.5). Stacking also affects how and if units retreat (see 11.16.5). You cannot voluntarily overstack, but if it happens (e.g., due to liberation), the owner of the hex must destroy enough of the overstacked units to comply with the stacking limits. You must destroy organized units before disorganized units.
Land unit limits
Up to 2 land units can stack in a hex. AsA/MiF/PoliF options 2, 3 & 6: you can stack 3 land units in a hex if the 3rd unit is a division, artillery or supply unit. [Deviation. Any and all hexsides of a land hex can be fortified, but only one fortification per hexside.] Units invading (see 11.14) and paradropping (see 11.15) have a stacking limit in addition to the defending units’ limit. This limit is applied to the combined number of invading and paradropping units.
You can rail move any blue factory you control in your home country if:
• an enemy in-supply land unit is currently in that home country, or
• a factory in that home country was destroyed by strategic bombardment during this or the previous turn.
[Deviation. For the USSR, an additional restriction applies. Either both the enemy in-supply land unit and the moving factory’s city of origin are in European USSR or they both are in Siberia (eastern USSR). Similarly, either the destroyed factory and the moving factory’s city of origin are both in European USSR or both in Siberia. The destination for the moving factory can be anywhere in the USSR. Here the European USSR and Siberia are defined by the demarcation line running north-south, three hexes to the east of Stalingrad.]
Factories must always end their rail move at a city hex in their home country. You can never end with more than 2 blue factories in one city.
The railed factory is not available for production until the 2nd turn after it finishes its move. For example, if you move it in Jan/Feb, it starts producing again in May/Jun.
Option 12: (Limited access across straits) A unit can’t rail move across a straits hexside if the presence of enemy units would prevent you tracing an overseas supply path into that sea area (see 2.4.2).
If you chose an air action, you can only rail move aircraft units. If you chose a land action, you can only rail move land units and factories. If you chose a combined action you can rail move factories, land units, and/or aircraft units.
The number of hexes the unit traverses determines the number of rail moves it expends:
Hex Distance Land or Aircraft Unit Factory Unit
1 - 60 hexes 1 rail move 2 rail moves
61 - 120 hexes 2 rail moves 3 rail moves
121 + hexes 3 rail moves 4 rail moves]
The hex distance calculation is the number of hexes traversed by passing through rail hexsides.
Rail moves do not also count as a land move or an air mission.
Perfection is an elusive goal.